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View Diary: WSJ: Fiscal cliff talks broke down on Monday; Obama goes Corleone on the DWOL (785 comments)

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  •  Then why did he offer CCPI? (22+ / 0-)

    Where's the percentage in that, even if he knew it would never be accepted? Are we still pretending that Obama scores points with the center by offering to cut benefits even if he doesn't expect such offers to be accepted?

    I don't recall Michael Corleone offering Senator Geary anything in exchange for his offer. Last time I checked "nothing" means NOTHING.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:53:28 AM PST

    •  why is that a pretense? (9+ / 0-)
      Are we still pretending that Obama scores points with the center by offering to cut benefits even if he doesn't expect such offers to be accepted?
      serious question.  doesn't the polling bear it out?  hasn't it for like a year?

      This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

      by mallyroyal on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:59:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps because they think (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Beetwasher, FiredUpInCA

      it's not as damaging as you think it is.

      •  Then they'd be wrong about that (6+ / 0-)

        Not damaging to them and others who won't be meaningfully affected by it, sure. And I should care about their opinion exactly why?

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:14:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I really can't tell either way. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FiredUpInCA

          And you don't have to care about the WH's opinion, but then again, it's what their strategy is built upon.  To be perfectly honest with you, they see the push back on chained CPI as a fringe position.  

          •  They have made the mistake (5+ / 0-)

            of viewing any pushback from the left as "fringe", and called and dealt with it as such. In other words, the lessons of 2010 & 2011 have yet to sink in. They continue to be in massive denial. Because it's easier to do so.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:44:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, we certainly shall see. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FiredUpInCA

              But I wouldn't wait until 2014 to teach the President and the Democrats a lesson on that.  Instead, I would focus on mainstreaming your position so that it translates in the polls first.

              But that's just my position.

              •  You're just rephrasing the standard (4+ / 0-)

                DLCesque argument that looking reasonable to centrists by being willing to offer up serious concessions is more politically helpful than looking honorable and tough to your base (and even many centrists) by, well, not.

                It has been disproved time and again.

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:27:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The problem is that we are not 'teaching' anyone a (6+ / 0-)

                'lesson'.

                Pointing out really bad policies that hurt struggling people is not about making 'threats'.  It's about identifying mistakes that will cost votes from other people, ones we have no control over how they vote.  We can warn, 'Hey if you do X, you'll piss people off and lose votes in the next set of elections'.  That's not a 'threat', it's not a 'lesson', it's simply a warning that positions also have consequences, not just elections.

                Even if cuts to 'entitlements' are necessary, that particular anchor should always be left wrapped around the necks of Republicans, to cost them votes, not embraced or offered by Democrats, to cost us votes.  Don't ever offer to do Republican dirty work for them, force them to do it on their own.

                •  I take you at your word Erich (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Beetwasher, FiredUpInCA

                  that you view this as pointing out what you find is a bad policy.  However I have already read grumblings from folk who are seeking out other alternatives for the future or have reaffirmed why they have already done so.

                  And you can call it what you want, but it still amounts to 'if you do X, Y will happen'.  All day long.

                  I say why wait until 2014 to invoke some consequence?  Especially if by invoking 'Y', it doesn't really get you what you want either?

                  According the WSJ article, the day that negotiations really broke down, the GOP themselves had taken raising the age eligibility of Medicare off the table, which means that they would not have just settled for chained CPI SS in the first place.  

                  •  Well, my rumblings mirror those before 2010. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dallasdoc

                    I was certainly not saying I would 'sit out', but warning that others who are not site members probably would, because you have to go to the polls with the voters you have, not those you would like to have, and that means doing things that will actually bring out the voters, things they find appealing and think will benefit them overall.  Despite all sorts of measures working against Dems in 2012, we still picked up seats all around, because Repubs went out of their way to actually tell voters what they really believed, which alienated lots of them, thankfully.

                    In pure political terms, my advice is never give away long term for short term.  If you're going to try and get some short term objective, only offer up a similarly short term concession.  Ideally, of course, you want to be the ones offering some overly tempting short term item wanted by the opposition for a long term objective that will help far more over time.

                    For instance, even though I think chained CPI sounds like a long term loser for seniors, I would possibly be willing to trade it for some other long term winner.  Never again allowing tea party idiots to heap more debt upon the US by causing debt ceiling crises and getting our credit rating cut, for instance.

                    Without that perpetually recurring hostage situation hanging over us, we could actually work then towards offsetting the loss in benefits to seniors by providing them some other service.

                    We need to remove forever as many of the recurring hostage issues as possible from the Republicans for the long term health of the country, including seniors and the poor.

                    •  Points taken and thank you (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Beetwasher, FiredUpInCA

                      for the measured discussion.  However I want to discuss this one statement that you made:

                      Repubs went out of their way to actually tell voters what they really believed, which alienated lots of them, thankfully.
                      This is, unfortunately, the new normal.  We are dealing with individuals within the GOP who have been given the opportunity to rise up within their ranks and now they are absolutely drunk with power.  They espouse extremist viewpoints that the GOP once kept in the closet.

                      Now the establishment, monied GOP used these people to maintain the little power that they had.  They have known all along that the national demographics would be totally against them in the coming future.  That is why they have built their base from the state and local level up.  Furthermore, they are using GOP majorities to change the rules to unfairly hold onto the power that they have and to unfairly and in some cases, illegally, garner more of that power.

                      That is why I am of the opinion now that the traditional way of viewing political negotiation tactics is out the window with this crew.  12/21/12 may have been a bust for them, but as quiet as some of the extremist within their political ranks attempt to keep it, they still view the world in apocalyptic terms.  They frankly think of Obama as the anti-Christ, end of the world type figure who will bring the republic down.

                      Don't believe me?  Just wait until the gun debate really step off.  Wayne Laperrier was just the opening salvo to the crazy.

                      We have to talk about these things and more importantly, we need to start owning up to the fact that this is what we are really dealing with.

                      Even some of the Republicans are calling this faction immature and worse.  They have unleashed quite a monster with this group.  

                      Lastly, check out the FP diary right now with the new poll of Americans rejecting this extremism by 53%.  At this point, our only effective strategy is to expose these creeps to the horror of the American voting populace and use that energy to mount an offensive in 2014 to get them all out of office.

                      There will be no effective governing until we do.

                      •  I don't think it's unfortunate. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        vcmvo2

                        I welcome the crazies actually airing their nutso beliefs in public - it means pickups for Dems, as they further destroy the Republican brand.  For far too long, we've had pretend 'moderation', in which Republicans have spouted off about compassion and helping Americans, then turning around and voting to hurt most Americans at every chance, reducing revenues from those who have benefited the most and cutting spending on those who need help.  Because most voters don't actually pay attention except right before elections, this has kept the country pretty evenly divided.

                        So I'm thankful that the new breed are willing to eschew the same old lies about actually wanting to help Americans, and are openly showing their contempt for the poor, minorities, and women.  Means more votes and more political power for the party that does a better job of actually caring for everyone.

          •  Really? You have inside sources? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kj in missouri

            Debates over the ever-popular ephemera of "process" feed on such assertions.   Unfortunately, we don't know what credence to give them.

            I really have no idea what they're thinking.  All I can judge is what they have done.

            So the arguments go on...

            (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

            by argomd on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:48:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think that it's reasonable to deduce (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kj in missouri, Beetwasher

              that it's one the options that they were willing to put on the table.  I'm not attempting to opine on the WH's mindset as others have done in terms of the kind of person he really is for having done so.

              •  Yup. Agreed. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kj in missouri

                So if it existed as an explicit option, I see it as a deed.  Not anywhere near as major as final legislation, but a data point nonetheless.

                (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

                by argomd on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:42:16 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oh no question. (3+ / 0-)

                  I don't believe that putting chained CPI on the table was part of some 'grand strategy' to trick and manipulate the GOP with.  I do believe that the C-CPI on SS was something that the White House was willing to concede, despite the outcry from the progressive sector of the Democratic Party.

                  I do think that because of the impeding debt ceiling fight in March (which is REALLY THE FISCAL CLIFF) is the reason why he did it.

      •  I may speculate on what they think, but (4+ / 0-)

        I'm more interested in what they do.  Explanations are valuable, because they may enable better future predictions, but right now it's hard to be anything other than

        WHAT.  THE.  FUCK.  IS.  GOING.  ON.????

        I don't expect my beliefs to matter to anyone other than me, so I don't proselytize.  Nor am I likely to be swayed by others' passionate beliefs.  But I do want data.  Particularly on CPI vs. C-CPI vs. CPI-E.  What I have seen isn't yet fully persuasive.

        Yet we can still recognize the factual symbolic impacts.  I can and do rail against unproductive symbolic gestures.  For the interim, it seems this may have been one.

        (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

        by argomd on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:27:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not sure what you're asking for (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kj in missouri, mightymouse

          If it's policy, CCPI is inarguably a cut in benefits. If it's politics, the numbers strongly suggest that it's a loser in and of itself, and would only be worth it IF it was the only way to get an otherwise pretty good deal.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:45:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  One set of data I saw wasn't clear -- (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kj in missouri, FiredUpInCA

            Hi, again, Kovie --

            In fact, since the decade covered by that particular example had relatively low inflation, the net difference among CPI-W, C-CPI, and CPI-E -- over ten years, now -- was within one percentage point.  That's the cumulative difference, mind.  About one month's worth of income after 10 years.  Not to sneeze at, but not starvation.

            That's why I need more data.  The principle of C-CPI is, to me, abhorrent (walking is cheaper than owning a car, and catfood is cheaper than hamburger), but before I scream about facts, I like to have them right.

            I will, however, scream about symbolic cluster-fUQX, which this does seem to be.

            (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

            by argomd on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:12:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  agree re: the symbolic #$%^& (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              argomd

              and my limited understanding of the economics of this is... it has a balloon payment effect (except just the opposite of "payment".)

              which is why i'm reading these threads, to get as much information as is available here.

              "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

              by kj in missouri on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:19:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, starvation (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kj in missouri, orlbucfan

              For many seniors, many of whom are now considered too "well-off" to qualify for exemption from CCPI, it would effectively mean starvation, because as it is SS and the current COLA aren't really enough to provide them with what the need to live decently. Taking 1/12 of their benefits would translate into a form of starvation, in terms of not eating well, or having decent accommodations, or heat, or medicine, or whatever else they need to live like human beings and not suffer unnecessarily. I know this for a fact based on my parents.

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:22:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry, Kovie. Guess I said that badly. (3+ / 0-)

                The difference was roughly one month less over 10 years, or roughly 1% after 10 years.  

                Say on a monthly SS of $2000, after 10 years $240,000, +/- $2000.

                Or, spread evenly over those 10 years, ~$20 less per month.  

                And for many of us on SS, as you say, that "small amount" MATTERS.

                (but that's based on the only hard data I've seen, and there have to be more!)

                (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

                by argomd on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:51:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Well, in terms of (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Onomastic, kj in missouri, Beetwasher

          what has been actually done, there's nothing.

    •  The debt ceiling (4+ / 0-)

      out of the table for 2 years + extension of unemployment + stimulus money + solving sequestration

    •  Michael privately offered nothing (12+ / 0-)

      And in public, Senator Geary suddenly became Michael's biggest fan.

      I must admit to being utterly bewildered by the seemingly endless conversations going on 'round here about these negotiations.  How hard is it to understand that the "offers" we read about in public may bear no resemblance to the behind-the-scenes negotiations?

      How would it poll if President Obama publicly pulled a Michael Corleone?  We'd all love it, but he'd suddenly be getting more than his share of the blame for the negotiations breaking down.  We've already seen Republicans trying to accuse the President of refusing to put anything on the table.  Now, the public narrative has the President offering "more than his fair share" and Republicans refusing to even consider allowing tax cuts to expire for $1M+ incomes.

      The President is winning these negotiations, and half the folks here are screaming that he's trying to give Republicans social security cuts.  

      A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

      by deminva on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:36:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No (4+ / 0-)

        You do realize what had to happen for Geary to suddenly come around? For Obama to do something like that, he'd have to make Repubs look like insane infantiles who don't give a damn about the economy OR old people. But for that to happen, he'd have to make it clear that THEY demanded CCPI and he decided to offer it, very reluctantly, and then they rejected even THAT. But he hasn't been playing this angle, instead continuing to treat them like serious people. He's been giving them political cover, the exact opposite of what MC did. And Obama doesn't even have to have any prostitutes murdered.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:49:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think we're watching the same movie (7+ / 0-)

          The movie I've been watching shows the president apparently negotiating in good faith -- even overly good faith -- while the Republican speaker can't get his caucus to concede anything for the sake of 98% of taxpayers.

          In the movie I'm watching, the president is making himself appear reasonable, thereby creating a striking contrast with Boehner and the other Republicans.  

          As for "not caring about old people":  Republicans have already tried to get an edge by claiming that Democrats refuse to even consider reforming entitlements.  It's the lie of the Ryan plan, right?  Ryan's such a deep thinker -- an economist, really.  He's reconsidering everything in the federal budget, whereas Democrats have no new ideas, and their old ideas are all about raising taxes and protecting (bloated) government programs.

          But President Obama apparently touched that third rail, in putting changes to Social Security on the table as part of his offer.  And Republicans wouldn't even consider it.  At least, that's what we're seeing publicly.  So now, forever after (or at least for a year or so), there's a clear rebuttal for any Republican talking point about how Democrats are too narrowminded to consider reforming Social Security.

          A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

          by deminva on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:58:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I understand the argument (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            roonie, orlbucfan, Patango

            I reject it, because it's never been shown to work. It lost Dems big in 2010. In politics, tough and principled always beats weak and reasonable. I don't know why people continue to believe in the zombie meme that the opposite is true. There are no numbers to support it. Can you show me otherwise?

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:04:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  And btw, if you're serious about using (0+ / 0-)

            The Godfather as an example, explain to me how MC wasn't being tough, as opposed to reasonable? I.e. how he was more like the "nice" Obama that you seem to prefer and not the "fighting" Obama that I want to see?

            Citing The Godfather undermines your argument.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:06:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'll try once more (7+ / 0-)

              and then we can just go our separate ways and enjoy the holidays.  No hard feelings.

              I'm saying that -- per the WSJ article -- President Obama is being tough in private negotiations.  Much like Michael Corleone.  But in public, Obama is appearing reasonable, conciliatory, and yes to some of us even a bit weak.  Most Americans aren't watching too closely, so they hear that the president is putting all sorts of things on the table and Republicans are refusing to consider any of it.  He looks reasonable, and they look like assholes.  And meanwhile, in private, he's being very tough with Boehner -- as he should.  When the fiscal cliff falls on us, or whatever the metaphor would have it, the Republicans will shoulder the lion's share of the blame, which certainly wouldn't happen if the president had spent December publicly declaring that his positions are non-negotiable.

              I don't prefer a "nice" Obama to a "fighting" Obama.  I happen to be quite content with the Obama I've got, who in public always appears reasonable, but has a knack for getting things done.

              A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

              by deminva on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:21:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I tend to discredit anything the WSJ says (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                orlbucfan, miracle11, Patango

                now that Murdoch owns it, and they'd have to offer up more specifics for me to believe what you say they claim. But I don't see how offering CCPI in public helps Obama be tough in private. And, as we've seen from previous rounds of negotiations between them, Boehner tends to get 98% of what he wanted.

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:25:21 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  He offered CPI to eliminate the debt ceiling (25+ / 0-)

      threat. I seriously don't understand why people are so mystified by this.

      The problem is that people are not considering the context in which these negotiations are taking place. Look. Obama is not sitting at a table with unemployment at 4% saying "Gee, I think I'll offer CPI just to get leftists angry at me."

      Obama is presiding over the worst economy since the Great Depression. He is faced with a radical House whose members have no problem undermining the full faith and credit of the US if they don't get substantial entitlement and SS cuts. Many economists warn that a failure to raise the debt limit could touch of a global economic crisis.

      So here's my speculation: Obama offers CPI to entice fence-sitting Republicans to vote to give the President the power to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling. Obama has to offer a significant entitlement concession to attract Republican support to defuse the bomb they're threatening to blow up the economy with. So he offers CPI because respected economists have argued for years it's a more accurate gauge of the cost of living.

      It's really quite simple IMHO. No 11-dimensional chess.

      It's all about the debt ceiling.

      •  And it was rejected, which he knew it would be (4+ / 0-)

        So where's the advantage there? Why not leave it in his pocket till when he's on the verge of an actual deal he can otherwise live with that has a good chance of passing, and why not let THEM bring it up and ask for it?

        I can see the logic in offering up CCPI if it's the only thing standing between an otherwise good deal, and no deal, or a much worse deal. But only after THEY ask for, in fact demand it. At which point he hangs it on their neck, not his or Dems'. And, at which point, they might think twice about it, thinking of 2014.

        So I continue to reject the need to concede let alone offer CCPI, certainly in the mock or preliminary negotiations we're having now, but also in final ones.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:15:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, if it wasn't part of (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fou, glynis, Beetwasher, FiredUpInCA

          some grand, great, nth degree chess move, how do you know that the WH knew it would be rejected?

          I mean, all I mainly read on here is how Obama isn't imploring a strategy -- that he instead is one of the those on the right who is trying to stick it to the little guy.

          To answer your question, I believe that he put it on the table because he wanted the debt ceiling off the table in 2013.  Boehner purported to having the votes to make it happen.  So did Cantor.  Now what I think happened is that Cantor stabbed Boehner in the back by leading him to believe the deal would sell to the caucus.  It didn't and optics of this now is that they won't get a second chance for that same deal going out.

          The WH can now default back to the bill that's been languishing in the Senate that effectively kicks part of this can down the road.  Now personally, I don't like that because it puts the whole spending cut thing on reset, but since the C-CPI option has already been offered, it would be better than taking more draconian measures.

          It's messed up, anyway you look at it.  We got Republicans in the House who would truly tank the whole world economy over some bullsh-t ideology.  That's just plain irresponsible but unfortunately, that's what the President has to deal with.  

          I know it sucks eggs.  Big time.

      •  basic strategy: (5+ / 0-)

        PBO already played the Debt Ceiling Game once before.

        Why play it again?    He actually said he wouldn't play it again.

        And why in the world would any progressive support cuts in SS just to play this stupid, idiotic, toxic as hell game all over again?

        "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

        by kj in missouri on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 12:01:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  debt ceiling = false crisis /nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Patango, Dallasdoc

        "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

        by kj in missouri on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 12:03:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  So smart. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fou, FiredUpInCA

        You summed it all up in two trenchant paragraphs; I've wasted reams trying to say the same thing.

        Still enjoying my stimulus package.

        by Kevvboy on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 12:16:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit (5+ / 0-)

        So cutting benefits doesn't have an impact on the deficit or the debt ceiling.

        In fact, the Social Security Trust Fund is so well funded the US Treasury keeps borrowing from it.  It's secure for at least another 20 yrs or more.

        Why do right wing Dems and the GOP keep pretending otherwise?

        Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

        by Betty Pinson on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 01:19:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I wonder how many people (0+ / 0-)

        realize that Social Security spending doesn't even affect the debt ceiling, since it includes the trillions of dollars borrowed from Social Security. Maybe 1% of Americans?

        "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

        by jfern on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 01:45:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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